i want to address a few points, starting with a tangential, that are
all relevant to this.
some of these points may seem overly critical,
so it's important to remember in context that i'm a peripheral web user
that's entirely for the constructive abolishment of the core web
where users and able to learn and transition onto the peripheral web.
i just think it's often done without people who use the core web in mind.
i was talking to someone who exclusively uses the core web the other day.
The core web is the "default" internet experience for all human
beings, largely defined by monopoly-capitalist platforms like
Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, Reddit, and others. Google, Microsoft,
and Amazon largely provide the foundations which define the (soft
but noticeable) boundaries of the core megalopolis through their
search engines and hosting services. That is to say that most
internet users are confined within the boundaries of what they
are able to search for and what has been presented to them. The
core web experience is profit-optimized, keeping individuals
within their platforms and services and susceptible to their
media in order to maximize advertising, sales, and data
it was particularly interesting hearing their takes on the peripheral web
(they know and have been on it as a result of me mentioning it anecdotally
to highlight the important things that they raised:
1. a problem with the peripheral web is that it's too small and disjointed.
it's hard to find other people and immerse yourself in the peripheral web
unless you know what you're doing;
something you can learn from sites like Melonland - with the issue that
you need to find these sites first.
i found Melonland through Yesterweb, which in turn I found through
Midnight.Pub, which in turn I found through a friend hosting a website
who only stumbled across Midnight because they were sick of Discord
and Reddit, and wanted to find something substantial off of dominating
i didn't know what a webring or webgarden was, until i searched for
my points being here: I don't know how my friend found their way onto
the peripheral web, and more importantly: they wanted to find their way
if they were nonchalant like a lot of core web users, then what would
have enticed them into learning? would they have remained engaged or
wanted to explore? i don't know - but the lack of broad information
in favor of specifics (How to make a website,
Good social media alternatives, What communicative apps should you use?)
makes the peripheral web daunting to folks that want to involve themselves.
to me: that's a blessing and curse, but i digress.
2. they enjoy what can be done with the core web.
they enjoy some of the content they can find on Twitter and Reddit;
they enjoy the recommendations algorithms suggest to them -
especially for finding music.
they keep up with a lot of smaller alternative and indie artists who
they've seen live because sites like Spotify recommended them.
Spotify - a site that's horrible for artists but has a silver lining
in enhancing discoverability because the platform's so large.
i'm into underground rap and hip-hop. when i want to find music,
my gotos are routing through forums on sites like SpaceHey or
cycling through the suggestions of Beatbump and Invidious
(front-ends for YouTube Music and YouTube, respectively).
i find it very difficult to find new emerging artists on the peripheral
this is the same problem as above. very few personal sites have music
that i like, and often i run into deadlinks and have no idea where to go
next because there is a lack of information as to how to do things
on the peripheral web that is easy to do on the core web.
3. it requires constant effort to be involved in most corners of the
when i inquired as to whether they'd be interested in keeping up with
(micro)blogs on web revival sites, they responded that they would -
but they would often forget to check unless they had things bookmarked
(i know they would for a fact - we talk daily and they always mean to
catch up with my blogs!)
the peripheral web lacks notifications in a style concordant with most
folks' experience with the core web.
instead, what dominates the scene is RSS - which is great for the web.
it offers a plethora of things,
but it fails to account for anyone that is a digital visitor;
distinguished from a digital resident that you can learn more about here
RSS is techy and difficult to learn about for both a webkeeper and a
apps exist, sure, to make RSS easy to interact with - but first you need
to explain the concept of it to users that haven't been introduced to it
most sites have RSS, but it's rarely highlighted and often difficult to
determine how to access:
is it http://site.com/page.rss?
how about http://site.com/page/rss?
or maybe http://site.com/page/rss.xml?
or maybe the site has a directory solely for RSS feeds at http://site.com/rss/?
in which case, which of these is it again? http://site.com/rss/page.rss http://site.com/rss/page.xml
4. finally: the front-end design of the peripheral web is often hard for them
this is true for a lot of my friends that are core web digital residents.
sites like Twitter (and my blogs, according to my friend) are easy to
navigate because things are intuitively separated.
it's easy to determine where things are, how things are divided from one
another and where to go to get something.
on the peripheral web, this is harder: artistic choices often hinder the
ability to successfully navigate a site.
this may not be the case with users fully immersed in the peripheral web
(though it can be: i often struggle to find references to webrings whilst
surfing), but this is a different story when introducing a core-web
user to the peripheral web,
when the user has grown accustomed to the minimalism
that modern sites have with regards to sparse content.
note that these are just summaries of points discussed at length from various
angles. it's important that peripheral web users like me talk through the core
web - often more important than trying to educate core web users as to what
the peripheral web currently is, because we collectively shape the peripheral
web and need to accept that sites can simultaneously exist for ourselves and
alas, there's a lot of perspectives on what the peripheral web should be,
and what sort of content folks should publish and interact with on it.
for instance, i hear a lot that TikTok is awful - most notably from a privacy
and a mental health standpoint (i.e. doomscrolling, "short stuff
these views are very valid and relevant to the majority of people,
but i've often seen platforms demonized by people in the peripheral web.
normally, this is because they're big, owned by a corporation or politically
divergent from the user criticizing.
more often than not, this viewpoint is accepted by individuals around them,
and the boycotting of a platforms transcends into outright complaining.
then, the mediums of communication employed by the platform are criticized
in lieu of others.
i see this a lot on the front page of Invidious (a front-end for YouTube),
where content creators will offer (sometimes) constructive ways to
sustainably transition from the Bad Thing to the Good Thing,
but will subsequently overreach the point of educating folks by (imho)
tainting their content with harsh descriptions of the Bad Thing which
can understandably simultaneously sound like judgement upon the viewer and
preaching akin to a soothsayer.
the reason we have so many ways of communicating is because people have
clutched the creative freedom they're given.
a lot of people don't have this privilege, so condemning a platform, to me,
seems inappropriate </nay>
yes, it's great that Twitter has had a rocky few months (i openly hate Elon),
but Twitter isn't just Elon.
Twitter is the creative types that use it because the peripheral web
just doesn't advertize them enough to pay their bills;
it's also all of the programmers that Elon laid off when he bought the site,
who may or may not be struggling to find another job in a sector where
whether you get hired feels like flipping a coin;
it's also the place where minorities are able to express themselves,
as well as educate and defend others from those that would censor them.
i heard about the Kansas and Florida bill through the core web.
to hope for the destruction of the core web as it's presently known without
the presence of resources that can help folks transition to the peripheral web
would simply lead to another big giant snapping up Twitter's place on the web.
the way that people communicate will always exist: poetry and novels will
always exist as much as tweets and video essays will - so what's to stop
another platform from making something just as evil that lets users tweet
after Twitter's gone?